Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Before I die...

Lately, I have noticed an overall sense of rushed desires and lists of endeavors people wish to act out "before they die." You know what I mean! You've seen the articles about the 20 places you just have to see before you die. The 50 experiences you must have before you knock off. The bucket list app that you downloaded so you could start building your list based on a decent (at best) movie with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. I remember that for about a month after watching that film, I bought into the "bucket list" idea and started to build my list. On my list were the following things I remember; "See Michael Jackson perform live", "Play Black Jack in Vegas and make an obscene bet and let it ride", and the most impressive, run a marathon at least once. Who am I kidding? First, Michael Jackson pulled out of the station before I got a chance, I have no "obscene" money to speak of and marathon....HA!

I made a list of things that sounded pretty fun to do, sounded like I should want to do them (see: Marathon), and things I had wanted to do since I was a little girl. No, I did not want to let it ride as a little girl but I think you get the point. Buying into this idea did a few things to me. 1. It depressed me because the whole concept is about dying, not living. 2. It made me feel like the things that I have already done are inconsequential like receiving two degrees in a field I love, having extremely long and fulfilling friendships,being able to marry a man I not only love but deeply respect, etc... and 3. It made me go outside of the things that matter and focus on things that really aren't worth much, in my opinion. Where were the "goals" that said anything about my spiritual development or relationships with those I love the most. I think that "bucket lists" are an interesting concept and one that can serve us very well to stop and think about what we want to get out of this life but I think it is probably a little skewed of an idea. I think if any one of us were looking down the barrel of our last 6 months of life, the list would probably change drastically and say things like "See my grandchildren every single day and play games with them", make mad passionate love to my husband twice a day until the end", and maybe even "quit my job and just sit home and talk to Jesus in those hours getting ready to meet HIM!"

At the beginning of this year (2014), those thoughts came to mind about what the end really looks like. I think giving birth to my first child in 2013 really made me start to look at life differently and ask questions I had never asked. I started to wonder to myself, "What do I want Max to feel at my funeral?" I started to think about what I wanted Anthony to feel daily in our marriage. I wondered aloud what I wanted to feel about myself every single day when I put my head on my pillow. My life has been a bit uncertain since I was diagnosed with Type I diabetes in 1996. I knew that there was a distinct possibility that my life may not have the span I had always dreamed of. I might not live to be the 100 years that my great great grandmother lived. I might leave at 50 or 60 or even 40 depending on the level of care and turn that my diabetes would get or take. I am still aware of that as someone who has developed renal issues now. I do not sit around and think about the day that I will leave Earth but I probably think more about the journey to the end than most at my age of 33.

I try not to be morbid but there are times I can delve into that. I feel a sense of peace about the day that I do leave this Earth because I know, it will be the right time. However, I also feel a sense of responsibility to those people that I love to have a "bucket list" that matters and is addressed every single day. Anyway, at the beginning of every year I always make a ton of resolutions. I am one of those nerdy people who really like progress and bettering myself. I like being organized, doing projects, reading books, watching movies, learning new things, and getting my life more together. I always love the beginning of a new year. I am also one of those people who loves a new notebook. I love the crisp clean pages of possibility that sit in front of me. My husband will tell you that I only love that newness for the first six or seven pages and then the notebook is tainted and I need a new one. It's true and nerdy! This is probably the reason why my blog gets more of my writing, because they give me a "blank notebook" with each post.

At the start of the year as I pondered what my goals would be in 2014, I realized that I had new sections this year to discover. I was now a parent. Last year at that time, I was still pregnant and thinking I had a few months to go. I was more concerned about getting Max here safely and surviving a diabetic pregnancy. This year, I am today (January 22) a year into parenting. Max was born a year ago at 2:56 pm Eastern Standard Time. I have new perspective and new goals. Also, this year my spirituality has changed so drastically with the introduction of being responsible for another human being and their development of faith. My marriage has changed drastically through our new role as parents into one I really love but one I do not recognize from the last five years with this man. Things this year would look far different on my resolution list. Normally my list includes things like specific books I would like to read, specific health goals I want to achieve, and career moves I feel I need to make. This different.

I thought on my journey back to the blog, I would start by sharing my vision for 2014. My goals for 2014 are separated into categories of Spirituality, Physical Health, Relationships, Mental Health, Parenting, Marriage, Fun, and overall togetherness of day to day tasks. They are varied in their importance to me like wanting to continue to exercise extreme patience in my parenting while being consistent and focusing on Max's adult-hood and not just surviving his childhood. Focusing on helping him became a great adult is a foundational way that I stay unconcerned about things that do not matter at all. Another big goal of mine this year was to clean up my health even more. I have taken care of my diabetes fairly faithfully now for 6 years but there are other things that need work. I decided that eating more based in plants and not animals would be better for my longevity goals for being here for Max. I decided that I better bite the bullet and start to really like exercise and even if I don't, do it anyway. This year, it's time to embrace my adult-hood now that I'm raising a little guy and modeling behaviors. I need to start thinking about what it teaches him when I do not get enough sleep or take on more than I can really do. I am focused this year on treating my husband like I might never see him again. What do I want the words I say to him to be if it's all over. I want them to be how much I love and respect him and think he is the absolute most gorgeous, kind, and generous man I know. What do I want my friends to feel if this is the last day I have to enjoy them. I want my buddy Nick to know it means everything to me to be in he and his family's life and I appreciate him leading me to the only thing that matters, Jesus. I want my friend Carrie to understand that no matter what this year brings, I'll be here to cry on or with. I want my nieces and nephews to hear that they are ENOUGH for Aunt Erica and that every word they say is interesting. I want Max to hear that his mommy wanted him so much that she fasted, prayed, and begged God for a chance to raise him.

"Relationship" is the key word for 2014. Relationship with my husband, son, friends, family, self, and most importantly my relationship with Jesus Christ. This is gonna be a meaningful year and if it is the last and this is indeed my bucket..I will know that I have accomplished my "list." Even though we are 22 days in, Happy New Year to you and Happy First Birthday to the apple of my eye, My Max!

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